Currently viable crafts


Coppersmithing (stills)


The making, installation, maintenance and replacement of pot stills, condensers and spirit safes for the distillery industry. See the separate entry for coppersmithing (objects).


Status Currently viable
Craft category Metal
Historic area of significance
Area currently practised
Origin in the UK
Current no. of professionals (main income) 51-100
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees 11-20 (see ‘Other information’ for further details)
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required





Skills include hammering and shaping the copper, welding, and cutting using a water jet cutting machine.


Local forms




Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Skills issues: Still making is a specialised craft and requires training from scratch.
  • Market issues: The global rise in the popularity of whisky means there is increased demand for coppersmiths to make, repair and replace stills.


Support organisations


Craftspeople currently known

  • The Balvenie (1 coppersmith)
  • Abercrombie Coppersmiths at Alloa (43 coppersmiths) – take on two apprentice coppersmiths and engineers a year.
  • Forsyths (15 coppersmiths) – take on three trainees per year for a five-year apprenticeship.


Other information

Number of trainees: Abercrombie Coppersmiths take on on two apprentice coppersmiths and engineers a year, and Forsyths take on three trainees per year for a five-year apprenticeship. An apprenticeship includes an engineering course at a Further Education College, followed by four years in the workshop working alongside trained coppersmiths. After completing the apprenticeship it takes another five years or so to fully master the craft.